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Remote & Async Work 10 min

Remote work trends: How the workplace will evolve

Written by Barbara Matthews
Barbara Matthews

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It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest remote work trends so you can stay ahead of competition and support your employees to the best of your ability. 

In this article, we explore the main remote work trends that we’ve seen so far and anticipate will continue into the foreseeable future. You’ll learn about the current state of remote work and discover what your company’s future could look like if you embrace a remote-first business model (we’ll give you a hint right now: it’s looking good!).

Remote work isn’t going away, but it is changing

Big players like Disney and Starbucks have called for a reduction in remote work for their employees and moved back to primarily in-office setups. This move has left other businesses wondering, “Is remote work a thing of the past?”

We say no — it's the inevitable future. But it might not look like the remote work you're used to. 

As with most trends and movements, the pendulum is bound to sway from one extreme to another before settling somewhere in the middle. Although it’s widely accepted that remote work is the new norm and preferred method for many employees, it isn’t the best fit for every company.

Some businesses are in the process of scaling back their remote options to better accommodate their needs. In doing so, they’re creating new versions of remote and hybrid setups to suit their unique circumstances. 

Ultimately, you can expect the remote work landscape to keep evolving over the next year as employers and employees find new ways to make working from home a success.

If you’re curious about the future of remote work, here are six remote work trends that we anticipate will influence remote employment setups going forward.

1. Employees will hold out for remote jobs

A FlexJobs survey found that 65% of respondents report wanting to work remotely full-time. So, even though several large companies are scaling back their remote options, the consensus is that a remote or hybrid setup is the preferred working model for employers and employees alike. 

Employees want to work remotely because of the flexibility and autonomy remote work affords them. They can structure their working hours around family needs or personal work preferences, and they can customize their work environment as needed.  

Remote employees can get on with their work without worrying about their bosses scrutinizing their wardrobe choices or trying to micromanage their time. They aren’t exposed to as many work-related distractions like chatty colleagues or lengthy meetings. Remote work also helps employees save money and time by cutting out daily commutes to the office. 

Businesses want to hire fully remote employees and contractors because it reduces their overhead costs. Remote work also allows employers to access a global talent pool filled with unique perspectives and competitive skills. 

If the prevalence of remote work continues to grow, businesses need to adopt remote-friendly practices that enable multi-time-zone, cross-border collaboration to thrive. To start this process, they can create helpful and thorough onboarding procedures to seamlessly integrate new hires into their team. 

If a business hasn’t already adopted an asynchronous model of communication and collaboration, now’s the time. Async setups facilitate teamwork without forcing remote team members to work at specific times of day.

2. Widespread acceptance of hybrid work models

While remote work is clearly the preferred setup for many employees, it isn’t always practical for businesses to be completely virtual. Still, employees are reluctant to give up the freedom and flexibility that they’re used to after working remotely for the past few years. 

The result? More hybrid work models in various shapes and forms. 

McKinsey found that between 20 and 25% of employees could adopt a hybrid work arrangement where they work from home three to five days a week. 

When a complete remote work setting is not practical, a hybrid work model can still bring benefits of remote work to both employees and employers. It's important to follow a remote-first work culture even in a hybrid workplace to ensure in-office and remote employees communicate the same way.

Employees and employers consider different aspects to be the most challenging part of remote working. Remote’s annual workforce report found that 36% of employees consider technology or tools used, while 29% of decision-makers think maintaining company culture and values the most difficult part of remote work. If you want to build a strong hybrid workforce, your priorities need to reflect both of these challenges. 

To strike the perfect balance between the wants of employees and those of employers, businesses need to create systems that allow flexibility and structure to coexist. And with the right tools, you can make remote and hybrid work a success. Adopting collaborative scheduling tools and encouraging idea-sharing are some of the simplest ways to generate a functional, close-knit company culture within a distributed team.

3. Increased demand for inclusivity

Remote work allows different cultures to intermingle more than ever before, increasing the need for inclusive hiring practices, diverse company cultures, and company DEI priorities. 

For a diverse workforce to thrive, the company needs to accommodate the needs and preferences of a wide range of employees. This is because underrepresented groups, like women, people of color, LGBTQ+ employees, and those with disabilities, demonstrate strong preferences for hybrid setups. Companies can follow inclusive hiring practices to give underrepresented groups an extra hand. They can also provide remote and in-office workers the same opportunities and treat them in the same manner.  It’s also important for businesses to compensate their remote employees fairly according to their responsibilities, skill levels, and local regulations.

4. Exposure to new types of security risks

For all its benefits, remote work does come with its downsides. Seventy-three percent of executives believe remote employees pose a greater cyber security risk than onsite employees, pointing to an increasing need for better security measures. 

Cyber security failures often come down to good intentions and bad execution. Most remote employees use their personal devices for work and unknowingly put their organization at risk with poor cyber security habits. Employees often don’t know how they’re supposed to protect their information and company data, and employers don’t know how to help them.

To keep their information and platforms safe from malware, businesses need to implement robust security protocols and educate their employees about safe digital practices. Companies can also reduce the risk of a security breach by controlling who has access to sensitive information and setting in-app permissions so employees can’t put that data at risk. 

Businesses should aim to work only with vendors and on platforms that maintain the highest data security standards. At Remote, we believe our clients’ data security is just as important as our own. 

To protect your data, these are some of the security and compliance features Remote has in place:

  • Support for single sign-on (SSO) integrations 

  • SOC 2 compliant 

  • ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified 

  • Regularly test all applications for Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) coding vulnerabilities

  • Run all applications in a segmented network (VPC)

When working remotely, work priorities have the potential to creep outside of business hours and prevent employees from ever feeling like they’re off the clock.

Flexible hours and work-related communication platforms can make it difficult for employees to set healthy boundaries between their professional and personal lives. Digital communication tools, in particular, lead to 69% of remote employees experiencing increased burnout levels. 

Burnout is a danger to every company, causing drops in productivity and putting employees’ well-being at risk. Employee burnout can be caused by a number of factors, including: 

  • An excessive workload with a to-do list that never ends. 

  • A lack of control caused by micromanagement or unrealistic expectations from employers. 

  • Little to no reward for hard work or extra hours dedicated to a project. 

  • A lack of communication that leaves employees feeling unheard, misunderstood, or forgotten.

  • No support from employers to help employees manage their workload, schedule, stress level, or other concerns.

There’s an unconscious expectation that if you work from home, you’re technically always only a few steps away from your desk. Employers and managers who are used to in-office communication might have trouble adjusting to the wait time between emails or other forms of communication with remote employees. 

Remote work makes it trickier to avoid burnout because we continue to learn how to navigate healthy work-life boundaries within a remote context. Employers aren’t being malicious when they demand quick replies; they just aren’t used to accommodating unique working hours yet. 

Business owners, managers, and company leaders need to prioritize boundary-setting and build a culture of respect around their employees’ home lives. Companies can implement digital wellness strategies that aim to educate employees on the best ways to maintain a healthy distance from their work and create healthy remote work policies that aim to protect employees’ well-being. 

Managers should avoid micromanagement and invasive monitoring policies wherever possible to generate trust and prevent employees from growing frustrated with a toxic remote work environment.

6. More fully remote companies

More and more companies are transitioning to remote-only setups due to the increase in flexibility and employee satisfaction. In fact, 16% of the global workforce is fully remote as of 2023.

More companies are going fully remote because of higher levels of productivity and employee engagement. The majority of employees prefer working in their own place because of flexibility, autonomy, the ability to work from anywhere — the list could go on indefinitely. Businesses love having access to competitive global talent, localized insights, and global markets. 

More remote teams means an increased need for global employment solutions — which is where Remote comes in. 

When hiring remote teams internationally, companies have two options: opening their own entities in every country they employ from (expensive and slow) or hiring through a global HR partner (cost-effective and efficient).

When managing remote teams, companies need an HR solution that is custom-built to address international pain points, like global payroll and compliance. Remote’s human resources information system (HRIS) is designed to help you hire, manage, and pay international teams without a hiccup.

What is the outlook for remote work?

It’s clear from the above data that remote work is here to stay. 

Companies around the world are becoming more open to remote setups, and they’re reaping the benefits of distributed growth. Employees around the world can work their dream jobs without relocating or commuting every day. And all this is made possible by global employment platforms like Remote. 

Remote is a global HR platform that helps you hire, manage, and pay your international team. Our EOR services allow you to hire in countries where you don’t have a legal entity, our Contractor Management allows you to hire and pay contractors from around the world, and our HRIS system manages your end-to-end employee lifecycle. 

With years of experience helping global teams thrive, we’re experts in the field and know what your company needs to succeed on an international scale. 

If you’d like to dive deeper into the future of remote work, download Remote’s Global Workforce Report.

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